MANITOWOC, Wis. (AP) - The mother of a teenage Wisconsin boy who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver is still hoping for answers 17 years after his death.
On Jan. 10, 1999, 17-year-old Ricky Hochstetler was hit by a vehicle, dragged nearly 200 feet and left for dead on a highway near his home in Manitowoc County. The driver has never been found.
Hochstetler’s mother, Debi, said a day has not gone by without her thinking about her son or finding the person responsible.
“The not knowing is the hardest part of all,” she told HTR Media (https://htrne.ws/1SHW8Q8 ). “We don’t know who killed him. It’s an unanswered question. I think if we had the answers, it would be a little easier.”
Ricky Hochstetler was a junior at Lincoln High School at the time of his death. His mother had dropped him off at a friend’s house for pizza and movies, and told him to call her if he needed a ride home. He apparently decided to walk home instead.
According to newspaper accounts, the teenager was on the west shoulder of a highway in the town of Newton when a southbound vehicle hit him from behind and dragged him almost 70 yards.
A passing motorist found the boy’s body around 2:30 a.m. He died of injuries including a skull fracture, brain trauma, a spinal cord injury, and neck and back fractures.
The driver who hit the teen apparently never stopped.
“Time does help, but it’s the constant nagging of who killed him,” the boy’s mother said.
Officials believed the driver may have been drunk or fell asleep at the wheel. None of the tips received by the sheriff’s department have led to an arrest.
Based on more than 200 vehicle pieces found at the scene, investigators determined they were searching for a late 1980s model Chevrolet truck, Blazer, Suburban or van. But about 15,000 of those types of vehicles were registered in Manitowoc and four surrounding counties.
Ricky Hochstetler would have turned 34 this year. His mother said she wants to find answers - not only for herself, but for her son.
“Somebody knows who did this,” she said. “Through these last 17 years, we’ve had our good days and we’ve had our bad days, but we just feel like we’re in limbo. It just always weighs on you.”
Information from: HTR Media, https://www.htrnews.com
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